Most infection specialists don't recommend the shortest possible antibiotic course

A study, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, examined whether infection specialists tend to advise shorter durations of antibiotic therapy.

Researchers conducted an online cross-sectional survey between September and December 2016. Survey participants included infection specialists giving at least weekly advice on antibiotic prescriptions. The survey included a part A that asked about the antibiotic treatment duration they would usually advise to prescribers and a part B that asked about the shortest duration they were willing to recommend. The survey featured 15 clinical scenarios.

Of 866 participants, 22.8 percent were clinical microbiologists and 58.7 percent were infectious diseases specialists.

The study shows 36 percent of participants advised short durations of antibiotic therapy to prescribers for more than half of the clinical scenarios, as compared with literature on the subject.

Forty-seven percent of participants chose shorter durations in part B compared with part A for more than half of the clinical scenarios. Twenty-two percent reported their regional/national guidelines expressed durations of antibiotic therapy for a specific clinical situation as a fixed duration as opposed to a range.

Thus, researchers found most infection specialists currently do not advise the shortest possible time for antibiotic therapy. "Promoting short durations among these experts is urgently needed," study authors noted.

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